USA's Failure in Vietnam

Flashcards by sagar.joban, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by sagar.joban about 8 years ago


GCSE Vietnam Flashcards on USA's Failure in Vietnam, created by sagar.joban on 08/04/2013.

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Question Answer
Tet Offensive, January 1968 It was thought that the war was going well from 1965-7. In Jan. 1968, the Vietcong launched a major attack on 100 cites in Vietnam - hoping the civilians would help but they didn't. Lost 10,000 fighters and a lot of power. However, the attack showed their co-ordination and effectiveness - questioning USA's morale and military.
Protests against the Vietnam War As US problems worsened, protests increased. Protests about civil rights, poverty and Vietnam War in 1968. It showed the inequality - white men could escape conscription via uni but many Afro-Americans couldn't. 22.5% of casualties black; 11% white.
Kent State University Disaster - 1970 In Ohio, 4 unarmed students murdered for protesting about the extension of the Vietnam War into Cambodia when guardsmen shot at them. 11 others injured.
The End of the Vietnam War By 1969, 500,000 US troops and 1000s of bombing raids hadn't defeated Vietcong - humiliated USA, thought to be a superpower. All US parties in 1968 presidential election knew they had to support the end of the war. Johnson didn't re-elect; succeeded by Nixon who had the idea of 'Vietnamisation'.
Bombing: strategic Bombed strongholds, supply lines and key cities in N. Vietnam but had a big cost and Vietcong had a tunnel system. Disrupted supply lines but still continued, damaged industry and military production, and made the leaders want to negotiate.
Bombing: chemical weapons Most of the jungle in S. Vietnam was bombed - Agent Orange for defoliation and Napalm (highly inflammable and burnt everything - controversial as it affected many civilians)
Search and Destroy US General Westmoreland developed the technique against Vietcong's guerrilla warfare. Use helicopters to land near villages and kill hiding fighters. But there were traps, wrong villages could be burnt down, lot of civilian casualties - made them unpopular.
Why America withdrew from Vietnam?: Low morale and inexperienced troops After 1967, many were conscripted. These soldiers were inexperienced + wanted to go home - Vietcong were motivated. US soldiers generally poor or immigrants - weren't willing to fight.
Why America withdrew from Vietnam?: Tactics used by the Vietcong - guerrilla warfare Vietcong and N. Vietnam no match for USA - 170,000 vs. 500,000 US by 1968. Ho Chi Minh inspired by Mao Zedong - retreat when attacked, surprise attacks and then pursue, wear down enemy - booby traps, use local terrain with help of local people, camouflage.
Why America withdrew from Vietnam?: Effectiveness of Guerrilla Tactics US Soldiers lived in constant fear of attack or ambush. Vietcong difficult to identify, fight or find. This wore down morale. Vietcong could also used Cambodia and Laos with US troops unable to follow them - huge advantage.
Why America withdrew from Vietnam?: Declining Support for the USA in South Vietnam US tactics such as bombing and chemical weapons killed thousands of innocent civilians. S. Vietnam gov. was also corrupt - USA lost a lot of support from many S. Vietnamese.
Why America withdrew from Vietnam?: The Press and Media The press and media accused of undermining the war effort. In 1964-8, they didn't want to criticise. After 1967, news reports changed to TV - showed shocking pictures. 1968, concern for US soldiers in Vietnam. Walter Cronkite, CBS News, well-respected, said it was unwinnable.
Military Problems: My Lai Massacre March 1968 - group of American soldiers on search-and-destroy mission in My Lai. In 4 hours, killed 400 old people, women and kids - no Vietcong. Only Ltn. Calley found guilty - 20 years dropped to 3. Shocked US public - undermined war effort.
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